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Hagan draws distinction between donations, votes



Published: Tue, February 22, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



One candidate said Hagan should name candidates pressuring employees.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mayoral hopeful Robert Hagan made it clear he wants only one thing from city employees on Election Day -- their vote.

Hagan met with the press in front of Youngstown City Hall on Monday to say he had heard from a number of city employees who told him they have been asked, and have felt pressured, to contribute to the campaigns of a number of mayoral candidates.

He did not mention the departments where the employees worked or which candidate or candidates the employees thought had pressured them.

"I am not going to jeopardize the jobs or the job security of any employee that works for the city," Hagan said. "I am just making it clear right now that I will not accept, nor will I solicit, any campaign contributions from any city employee to make them feel pressured, to make them feel like they have to make a contribution, or to make them feel like they have to pay for their jobs."

Hagan said pressuring city employees is unacceptable, and that he had heard as recently as last week that some candidates were putting the "strong arm" on city employees to contribute to their campaigns.

Angering another candidate

Hagan's comments didn't sit well with Youngstown Council President James E. Fortune Sr., one of nine people who filed to run for mayor.

"He's painting all other candidates with a broad brush, and I'm ticked about it. If he has proof of someone doing this, let him come forward," Fortune said.

"I take exception to anyone making accusation without foundations," Fortune added, saying he's never pressured anyone to support him during his campaigns for 6th Ward councilman and council president.

Hagan, who has spent 17 years as a state representative and state senator, said there are more than 800 city employees, so it is possible some may have contributed to his campaign.

He said if he finds he has accepted money from any city employee, he will return that money.

Hagan said he has some money raised from his re-election campaign for his state senate seat that he can use, and he's moved about $1,000 from that fund to his mayoral campaign.

He also said he has received a "sizable contribution" from someone who supported his bid for Congress when he ran against James A. Traficant Jr. a few years ago. He said the contributor told him he believed he was the best person to turn the city around.




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